20th Century World Architecture: The Phaidon Atlas

The Phaidon Editors. Phaidon, $200 in carrying bag (832p) ISBN 978-0-7148-5706-0
Following the recent publication of the editors’ massive tome The Art Museum, Phaidon offers another gargantuan marvel that could double as its own coffee table, this time focused upon “a truly global selection of buildings constructed during the 20th century.” Organized by continent like a standard atlas, within each section buildings are categorized into 13 different typologies, and keys for each region show which types predominate. Maps of trade flow and architect migration over the course of the century show how design talents moved toward money or away from political strife. As the constructions are grouped by location rather than age, readers get a sense of how buildings speak to each other and their local contexts. Photographs, sketches, and site plans are included for each of the 750 projects, for a total of 5,500 images, and sidebar texts note innovative design practices. Localized cultural influences on building designs are also explicated, offering an anthropological perspective. Though not comprehensive in terms of highly notable buildings, this collection showcases a wide variety of styles and serves as a welcome introduction to noteworthy constructions outside the usual hot spots of Europe, North America, and East Asia. Easily in the running for most engrossing coffee-table book of all time. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/08/2012
Release date: 10/01/2012
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